Quest refurbished its Newcastle city apartments in July 2018, to create modern and stylised spaces for guests that look and feel like a home away from home.
As part of its commitment to environmental sustainability, Quest participated in the Plastic Police® program to keep all soft plastics generated during the refurbishment out of landfill. Plastic Police® is a local community engagement program to collect, recycle and reuse soft plastics in the Hunter Region. This closed-loop circular economy program keeps soft plastics from ending up in landfill and the environment by turning it into new and useful products for communities and organisations.
During the refurbishment, Quest collected 310kg of soft plastics, including linen packaging, bubble wrap from new furniture and pallet wrap. More than 70 large bags of soft plastics were collected, which is the equivalent of over 77,500 plastic bag-sized pieces of plastic. Quest is investigating the option to offset the soft plastic collected by procuring a bench seat made from soft plastics for hotel guests to enjoy. Soft plastics collected through the Plastic Police® program can be recycled into a range of new products, such as outdoor furniture, bollards, wheel stops, garden beds, decking and even asphalt!
In addition to soft plastics, Quest worked closely with environmental and sustainability consultancy firm Cross Connections, as well as waste management company REMONDIS, to find local reuse and recycling opportunities for other waste streams produced during the refurbishment works.
Over two months, Quest diverted from landfill (refer to Figure 1):
- 5 tonnes of cardboard
- 316 kg of polystyrene
- 310 kg of soft plastics
- 735 pieces of furniture
- 380 pieces of artwork
- 100 TVs and DVD players
- 50 used shower screens
Quality used furniture was donated to local furniture store Second Hand City for resale. Overall, more than 700 pieces of furniture were donated for reuse, diverting a significant amount of material from landfill. The donated furniture included coffee tables, desks, dining and outdoor settings, beds, mattresses, lamps, TV cabinets, microwaves and lounges. In addition, 280 canvas paintings were donated for resale.
A total of 50 shower screens were removed during the refurbishment, and all shower screens were recycled. The aluminium was stripped onsite and delivered to the local scrap metal yard for recycling. The glass screeners were taken to Dee Glass Newcastle, who also supplied the new shower screens, to be recycled.
Newcastle-based television supplier Australian Colour TV supplied new televisions as part of the refurbishment, and purchased the used TVs and DVD players for resale. As a result of this agreement, 100 TV sets and DVD players will be reused and kept out of landfill.
By choosing to keep materials in the circular economy and out of landfill Quest has demonstrated its commitment to sustainable development in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and provided environmental and social outcomes for the company.
The project is an impressive example of a circular economy initiative where sustainability is at the heart of business practices.
Figure 1. Overview of waste diverted from landfill during Quest’s apartment refurbishment by weight.
For more information on how you can reduce waste to landfill or participate in the Plastic Police® program contact Cross Connections Consulting or Plastic Police®. For accommodation or project specific enquiries email Daniel Burton.